Hours ago, the US labor union movement was dealt another crushing blow (the most recent being the recent liquidation of Hostess which left thousands of workers cold and unemployed just in time for Thanksgiving) when the Michigan legislature gave final approval to "right-to-work" restrictions on public sector unions in a state considered a stronghold of organized labor. In the meantime, over 10,000 protesters had gathered outside the legislature, chanted in the gallery, and generally expressed their displeasure quite vocally with this development that further set back labor in its endless fight against capital. As Reuters reports, "the House passed the measure making membership and payment of union dues voluntary for public sector employees such as teachers by a 58-51 vote. The only government workers excluded would be police and fire unions. The Senate approved the same bill last week so it will now go to Republican Governor Rick Snyder, who has promised to sign it into law."
Incidentally, these same workers would be better advised to direct their anger at Chairman Bernanke who has done everything in his power in the past several years to shift the balance of power far more in benefit of capital courtesy of ZIRP and zero cost of capital, which allows companies to cut as many workers as needed in order to pursue the almight bottom line dollar, while extracting unprecedented productivity gains out of those still employed, as workers no longer can fall back on savings and are forced to accept any labor conditions in a New Normal world in which living paycheck to paycheck is becoming the norm for most, and thus giving employers all the leverage.
But that is a philosophical debate for a different place. But for now, here are two short clips to serve as a harbinger of what may and most likely will happen in the US as labor unions are stripped of even more power in the coming months and years, showcasing their reluctance to go gentle into that good night. This is how close the US is from violence at any one moment.
Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt this time.
Has the Syntagma riotcam finally crossed the Atlantic?